Man, Woman, Both? August 11, 2013 Every society has their thoughts on what is normal, morally correct and even accepted when it comes to sexuality and gender. Throughout my research on these topics, I have often wondered if I understand what I am reading or writing. It was stated in the writings by Serene And that “Because sex, gender, and sexuality are at the very core of the Western understanding of individual identity, it is not easy to dislodge our thinking about these issues, particularly in the context of our own culture. ” (1996).
Perhaps it is this reason that I seem confused about the topic. In this paper, we will look at alternate gender roles throughout Native Americans, India and Western cultures. We will discuss how these alternate genders are similar to each other and how are they different. I will discuss the significance of these alternate gender roles in their culture and why they may exist. The first alternate gender role we are going to discuss is that of the Native American culture. The Native American culture calls their alternate gender role “Two Spirits”.
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Two Spirits are a combination of masculinity and femininity. There are men hat take on women roles and women that take on men roles. In an article written by Mary Merriness (2000) it was said that “the men are regarded as a woman not because of his sexual preference, but because of the work he performs. The same situation occurs for females who live and work as men. (pig. L). Gender roles in the Native American culture have nothing to do with sexuality. As a matter of fact, homosexuality is frowned upon.
The Two Spirits are taken in to the rest of the tribes as accepted, honored, respected and seen as inspired. Families which have a Two Spirit feels itself to be honored. Author Sabine Lang (2011). Said that “they were active as healers, gravediggers, or nurses during war expeditions. They conferred lucky names on children and adults and had certain functions in the sun dances of ten Plans. ” (pig. / Men Tanat are In relationship Walt IOW split Attainment are considered to be heterosexual, not homosexual. If a young boy began to show signs of female interests, he was raised, from then on, as a female.
The Native Americans do not see a female and a man together as being homosexual, nor do they see a melanoma and a woman together as homosexual. The Two Spirits of the Native American culture identify themselves as female or male based solely on the roles they play in society. They do not have to have a sex change or be castrated to be who they are. This is much different than the culture of India and their third gender role. The Hajji, which is an alternate gender role in India, is considered to be neither man nor woman, but both.
In her essay, Beyond Emasculation, Hosanna (2012) explained the Hajji as: “the proverbial third sex/gender in south Asia, are an institutionalized subculture of feminine-identified male-bodied people who desire macho” men and who sacrifice their male genitals to a goddess in return for spiritual prowess. ” (pig. 495). This rebirth called, Nirvana, gives the Hajjis the divine powers of the goddess Shasta through removing their penis and testes. Hajjis are treated by their communities with not only respect, but also fear.
It is said in the writings of And (1996) that: ” the Hajji is feared because they have the power to bless a family with fertility and fortune, and is also Jointed to their poser to curse a family with infertility and misfortune. ” (pig. 381). Unlike many other cultures that consider hermaphrodites” as being a man with women parts, the Hajji are men without men parts. The way that the Hajji lives and is viewed has similarities and differences to the Western culture’s Transgender and hermaphrodites. In the Western culture, there are two major categories of alternate genders.
The first being transgender. Heather Alloy (2005) stated that being transgender is “when individuals have no evidence of an interest condition, but believe that they in fact are a gender different from that suggested by their biological sex. ” (p. 168). This meaner that there is nothing inconsistent with their genitalia, hormones or anything else that would prove that they may not be the exact gender that they were born as. This is a physiological issue that some people have, where they feel that they were born into a body that is a different gender than what they are mentally.
Most people who are transgender, have surgeries to take away genitalia and add other parts of genitalia from the sex that they believe they should have been born into. Being interested, or hermaphrodite, is having both male and female parts. It can range anywhere from having a penis and breasts, a penis and female reproductive parts inside the body or even that of a female that produces testosterone. In her writings of “The Nature of Gender”, Alloy (2005) told a story of a young girl named Barbara; Barbara was born and raised a girl, content and happy.
However, by age 14, she began to realize that something was wrong. She was not menstruating and her breasts were not growing. To her amazement, her voice began to deepen, her clitoris enlarged greatly, testes descended into her labia, and she started experiencing sexual interest in girls. Gradually, Barbara realized that she was turning into a boy. (pig. 166). This is the perfect example of someone being interested. Being interested happens during the pregnancy process when an extra chromosome is accompanying the X and Y chromosomes.
Instead of having “>C or “M, and extra “X” or is gained in the process. There are many ways that the interested and hermaphrodite gender roles compare Ana contrast to Tanat AT ten “IOW spell TTS” In ten Native American culture and the Hajjis in India. Looking at the three of these cultures together, we can see that there are similarities. When discussing transgender and Hajjis, we can see that both of these ender roles usually take genital parts away to become more of what they see themselves as, physically.
When we look at interested individuals and “Two Spirits”, we see that there are both man and woman descriptions in both. It is not necessarily in regards to sexual conduct or sexual partner interest, but in mannerisms, gender roles and the way that they see themselves inside. Quite a few differences play into the three of these cultures. Two Spirits are seen as honorable and respected by their cultures where as transgender people in the Western culture are seen as bizarre and pathological. The Hajjis and Two Spirits have roles within their societies that are honorable or, at the least, respected.
When looking at the Western culture, anything outside or astray from the normal female or male roles is frowned upon, misunderstood and even considered to be a sin. There is no flexibility in the Western culture for gender categories. Heather Alloy (2005) commented on the thought process of humans behind gender roles: “We Just are women and men, and the relative effortlessness of this identity can lead us to refry a simple, dichotomous view of gender. People are meant to be either female or male, both physically and psychologically. ” (pig. 166).
There are reasons that these gender roles must exist in each culture. If everything in this world were exactly the same and we had nothing that brought up questions, interests, concerns, debates or even confusion, we would be a very boring place. What is really normal throughout each community or culture? There is nothing that each culture does or believes that is exactly the same, which also proves that nothing throughout this world is “consistently’ normal. Alternate gender roles were placed on this earth to bring depth and diversity to our cultures.